Death is not the greatest loss in life. The greatest loss is what dies inside us while we live – Norman Cousins
Its cold outside today.
The weather has changed considerably.
The house that nobody wanted became our family home.
Unlucky for some – unlucky for us.
Its not a case of luck really! The truth is that the families that lived within it’s walls, experienced such loss and sadness.
I’m not sure why my parents chose to move across the road and my guess is that the house was semi detached instead of mid-terraced. It was still a two bedroom property and we were a family of five (well seven if you include the dog and cat).
The previous tennants were a couple with two teenage boys and tragically one of the boys aged 17 died of suffocation in the upstairs airing cupboard. I have no idea how the tragedy happened and I didn’t find out about it until I was a young adult.
Knowing about the poor boy, escalated my fears of being alone in the house.
Number 13 stood empty for a while and it seemed that no other council tennants were remotely interested in making it their home accept for my parents of course!
And why not? You couldn’t get more of a religious, complete hypocrite of an un-Christian like father such as ours who would override any decision that wasn’t his.
But preach he did…
And listen we didn’t!
My father and Godfather separated the larger of the two bedrooms by erecting a false wall with a sliding door. I had the first small room which my brothers had to walk through to get to their room where the airing cupboard was housed. I remember them having bunk beds, a wardbrobe and an old dark wooden chest of drawers. The room was small, especially for two boys. When they were teenagers, my mother found a box full of condoms (un-opened packets) under the bottom bunk when she was doing the housework and I recall her being mortified to think that they may actually be having sex with their girlfriends. Feeling embarrassed, she never mentioned it. Well not to them anyway and personally, I think that it was incredibly responsible of them both.
My bedroom was small too – it seems we were cheated of space. I had a single wardbrobe, a small bed and a scruffy wooden toy box full of old jumble sale toys. The wall between the rooms was so thin that it was like being in the same space together and I often heard my brothers whispering to one another. I wondered what they were saying…
Little did I know how significant my bedroom would become in years to follow.
There are many difficult memories attached to living in the house that nobody wanted and I have often remarked that I couldn’t careless if it burnt down just as long as no one was harmed.
Writing all things difficult can take its toll and in particular this week, I have struggled and edited this post several times. So I’d like to share a fond childhood memory that warms my heart.
My brothers and I played a game of Mr & Mrs, talking through the wall whilst laying in our beds late one evening. The game show was popular on the television in the 70’s and our parents used to watch it and we copied the idea, asking each other silly questions. We were supposed to be going to sleep and I must have been quite young possibly, under the age of 10 but old enough to remember that we had to speak quietly in order not to wake the sleeping dragon. I remember the laughter we shared that night and the feeling that my brothers had included me in a game. That’s quite significant because of the age gap between us – it wasn’t a normal thing that we did. Something tells me that it had been a difficult evening in the house with our father and they were trying to alleviate my being scared as I was unable to sleep.
I am so grateful for my brothers.
I understand who they are 💙
All Rights Reserved – The boy in the chip shop 2019